Fun fact- I wrote this last year, and while I had every intention of cleaning out my closet last year, it didn’t really happen. For a lot of the reasons I chat about here. Overwhelm. Still not sure what my life is going to look like. At the end of the year, I did begin to clean out- and it felt great. I’m still taking it slow, and while the world and I are more open than we were, I’m determined to let that uncertainty lead me to make amazing fashion choices- and not hold onto items I really don’t need anymore. Especially when there are so many great ways to recycle your clothing and get your great items to people who do need them! Below are my thoughts on cleaning out your closet even when it’s hard, my method to clean out my closet, and this year I am really going to do it! XO RA
About this time, you’ll be seeing, getting, reading all sorts of articles and tips on how to clean out your closet. It’s that time of year. And I get it- I’m a fan of cleaning out closets,I even have my own method which I’ve gone into detail about here, here, and here. Yes, when I clean out my own closet I do these EXACT things. I go through section by section and sort my yes, no, and maybe piles, trying on all my maybes and asking myself questions to see if they fit in my closet (life). Then I sort again, organize and make plans to get rid of my nos.
But. Wanna know a secret?
I haven’t cleaned out my closet in a couple of years. With the pandemic, and all the things, I just haven’t been up to it. Part of it is overwhelm- even though I have a system that works for me, I’m well versed in what I like and what I want my closet to look like, the stories I want to tell with my fashion- going through my clothes right now seems daunting. Some of that is that I know some things I know I need to sort out and replace (like a lot of my sports bras), and the idea of replacing a section seems too much right now. Part of it is that I’m at a loss for what’s happening in the world right now. Am I not wearing things because of the item or fit- or because I’ve been at home for over a year? How do you judge that and what are you doing about it?
If you’re managing to clean out in a way that’s working for you, I can’t tell you how much I admire you. A closet clean out is currently on my list of January goals, and I’m still not even sure how to start it. There are so many things in my closet that I love, some I need to part with, and many that I would love to add- and in this time that’s all a bit much.
I’m changing at how I’m looking at the closet clean out this year. Will I eventually go through my closet, using my processes and get rid of the things that no longer serve me? Yes. At some point will I replace all the things that I need to (for me, sports bras)? Of course. However, while all of that is still overwhelming, I’m choosing to focus on other aspects of a closet clean out- the organization. During the pandemic my closet space became more temporary than it had been in years. There was a time when you could ask about any item I own- ANY- and I would know EXACTLY where it was in my closet. Skirts, pants, tops, dresses, vintage, modern- my closet was sorted by type, color, function. It was pristine. Now? I don’t know where anything is (I do, but not in the ways I’m used to). Instead of making myself stress out about another closet clean out, I’m focusing on getting my closet back to being pristinely organized. Will that help in a clean out (as some clean will naturally happen along the way)? Yes. Or at least I’m hoping so!
But taking the pressure off myself is making this process easier on me. In my closet clean out process, I always say that you shouldn’t feel pressured to get rid of things just to get rid of things. If you love something, if it brings you joy (even if you aren’t wearing it every day), I say keep it. This relaxed attitude has always let me clean out my closet in a way that lets me keep things, while I really do get rid of the things that are no longer for me. I’m crossing my fingers that this same attitude will let me organize- and clean out- while avoiding the overwhelm.
How are you making room for new stories this year? How are you cleaning out your closet? I would love to hear any and all tips!